J Street Daily News Roundup 3/3/2014

March 3rd, 2014

J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street's positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Please email newsroundup@jstreet.org

J Street in the News

Why AIPAC Needs to Get With the Peace Program, Politico Magazine

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami urged, “As advocates for Israel’s future as the democratic home of the Jewish people, AIPAC delegates should put support for [Secretary of State] Kerry’s initiative at the top of their advocacy agenda and ask their elected representatives to publicly support his efforts… Isn’t that what pro-Israel advocacy is supposed to be all about?”

Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship, Guardian

Ben-Ami said, “You now have majorities of both Democrat caucuses that are not going to be pushed around by the more hawkish elements of the Jewish community, and that’s a significant shift… A large core of Democrats , significant enough for [majority leader Harry] Reid in the Senate and [minority whip Steny] Hoyer in the House to take notice, are standing up and saying, ‘No, we are not going to go along with this just because there is outside pressure; it’s the wrong policy.’”

AIPAC divisions more pronounced than ever, Politico

“The direction the president and the secretary are pursuing is eminently pro-Israel and this is what friendship for Israel really looks like,” said Ben-Ami. “To promote the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict secures Israel’s future and to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon—these are the acts of a friend, this is what pro-Israel should be defined to be.”


Let’s Call It What It Is, And It’s Not Apartheid, Georgetown Hoya

J Street U Georgetown member Kate Hopkins wrote, “While I appreciate SJP’s desire to ignite campus dialogue around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a humanitarian perspective, and I want to assert that using polarizing, sensationalizing ‘apartheid’ language is neither accurate nor constructive, and it does not move us toward developing a safer, more peaceful existence for Israelis and Palestinians.”

The slippery slope of Jewish banishment: from BDS all the way to Bibi, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev chronicled the risks of trying to push J Street and others outside the pro-Israel tent.

After AIPAC and J Street, Israel's third lobby: ZPAC?, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit reported, “The overtures are under way, donors are lining up and plans are being spun: America's right-wing Jewry is talking about establishing its own AIPAC, a counterweight to J Street. The temporary name is ZPAC, a jest of sorts, something like, ‘If they are A, then we are Z.’”

Top News and Analysis

Obama to Israel -- Time Is Running Out, Bloomberg

In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, President Obama, “borrowing from the Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, [said] that his message to [Prime Minister] Netanyahu will be this: ‘If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?’ He then took a sharper tone, saying that if Netanyahu ‘does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach.’ He added, ‘It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.’”

Netanyahu on Obama’s critique: I won’t give in to pressure, Times of Israel

Upon landing in Washington, where he was to meet Monday with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Kerry, Netanyahu said, “The tango in the Middle East needs at least three… For years there have been two — Israel and the US. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present.” The prime minister said that he wanted a peace deal, “but it must be a good deal.”

US pessimistic Israeli-Palestinian framework deal can be reached by end of March, Haaretz

Barak Ravid says that “the Americans are looking for ways to square the circle and arrive at [a framework agreement] that both Netanyahu and [President] Abbas can live with. After reaching certain understandings with Netanyahu, they found they were still far from what Abbas is prepared to accept. A senior Israeli official said one conclusion the Americans have reached from talks with Abbas is that they must adopt a more balanced proposal and persuade Netanyahu to be a bit more flexible, so as to give the Palestinian president room to maneuver allowing him to say yes.”

Iran nuclear deal being implemented as planned, Reuters

A landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers is being implemented as planned but much remains to be done to resolve all issues regarding Tehran's atomic activities, the UN nuclear chief said on Monday.


AIPAC presses Obama: Stay firm on Iran, Haaretz

After recently leading a losing battle in Congress against Obama's diplomatic strategy on Iran, AIPAC, whose annual convention in Washington opened Sunday, is giving it another try. AIPAC circulated a letter to Obama urging him to take a much more restrictive approach to Iran's nuclear program, adding that Iran has "no inherent right to [uranium] enrichment" and that there is "no reason" for Iran's enrichment facility at Fordo, nor for its heavy water facility at Arak.

Mideast peace talks in focus at Palestinian development meet, AFP

Representatives of 22 nations met in Jakarta on Saturday to discuss Palestinian development, with co-chairs Japan and Indonesia reiterating their support for a two-state solution.

‘Erekat accuses Israel of propping up Hamas in Gaza’, Times of Israel

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat reportedly accused Israel on Sunday of propping up the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers, and warned that if peace negotiations fail the Palestinians will become “a state under [Israeli] occupation.”

Israeli outposts critical of settler leadership targeted for demolition, Haaretz

Figures for the razing of constructions in West Bank outposts between 2011 and 2012 show that places where residents are close to the settler political leadership are immune to demolition visits by the Civil Administration, with demolitions confined to smaller outposts that have shown opposition to the Yesha Council of settlements.

Opinion and Analysis

The Argument Against New Sanctions on Iran, Ploughshares Fund

Emily Hauser argues that “rather than help, new sanctions [on Iran] are more likely to undo all that we have already achieved.”

A partner, not an enemy in the White House, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “Netanyahu is not going to the United States as the representative of Likud or Yisrael Beiteinu, or as the spokesman of HaBayit HaYehudi, but as the Israeli prime minister. In such a role, he is required to understand the upmost importance of a peace agreement, to remove the potholes he has placed in its path, to stop blaming the Palestinians for thwarting the peace process and to leverage Obama’s efforts.”

Bibi trapped, Foreign Policy

Aaron David Miller says that Netanyahu “always has the option of saying no [to Obama]. But the deeper he gets, the more difficult that will become -- particularly if the Palestinians prove uncharacteristically flexible, or the Americans uncharacteristically bold.”

Annexing the West Bank – a catastrophic plan for the Jewish people, Jerusalem Post

According to Gershon Baskin, “Not only will annexation of the territories bring on the wrath of the whole world, the Palestinians will never give up their nationalism and if they have no political avenue to wage their struggle in the world, they will use violence against Israel, and we will certainly feel the pain of their wrath.”

A different Jewish approach to countering “Israel Apartheid Week” on campus, Times of Israel

Joshua Levine Grater says that the Israeli ambassador should visit American college campuses, to meet “with the Jewish students to assure them of their support and protection, and then lead a delegation of Jewish students to meet with the activists engaged in Israel Apartheid Week.”